Homily by Cardinal John Dew for Central Pastoral Area Confirmation Mass

Confirmation Homiily 2017

Earlier this year I saw a wonderful YouTube clip of a few people telling the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, how much they appreciated her during her eight years as First Lady. It was a wonderful little video, they spoke to a portrait of her, and actually had no idea that she was standing behind it listening to them, then. She walked out and totally surprised them. One of the men, a man married with two young children told her that he loved to let his children listen to her speeches. He said there is always a theme and he said, “It is kindness, kindness, always kindness, nothing but kindness.”

Just a few weeks ago a new President of France was elected, in some of his campaigning to be elected he several times spoke about calling the French people to be people of kindness, each time he did that he made his arms into the shape of a cross.

A famous Roman poet of hundreds of year ago, Seneca, once wrote; “Where-ever there is a human being there is a opportunity for kindness”

Today (number) are being confirmed, are being gifted by God with the gift of the Holy Spirit….we know that when the Spirit of God, the same Spirit that was in the heart of Jesus, when that Spirit lives in our hearts as he will do from today onwards for all these young people….we will be different people. “What the Spirit brings is very different; love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, trustfulness and self-control.” We are all able to be all those things, because God’s Spirit is given to us at Baptism, and renewed and strengthened in Confirmation, and every time we pray.

I would be prepared to take a bet that like that father of two young children who thanked Michele Obama for her speeches with the thread of kindness running through them. That parents here today too would want the same for your children, for these children being Confirmed today.

Maybe a simple way to help one another to be kind, and certainly for parents to help their children to be kind would be at the end of every day to ask some simple questions. Questions such as “Who did you help today? Who were you kind to today?”   Or “Whom did you fail to help today, who were you unkind too?”

There was a Professor of Special Education in the United States who dealt especially with children with learning difficulties, his name was Leo Buscaglia. His writings all came down to something very simple and practical. He once wrote: “Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Most of us want to be able to offer a kind word, a listening ear, a small act of caring. Most of us want to be able to live by being people of kindness, kindness, always kindness, nothing but kindness……..but we can’t do it on our own. We need God’s help, the strength of God’s grace

When the new President of France spoke of the French people being “people of kindness” he used to stretch out his arms in the shape of a cross. It was only after Jesus stretched out his arms on the Cross that he was able to give us His Holy Spirit. Sometimes it is not always easy for us to be kind, we need to make and effort, to stretch out our arms and forget about ourselves…..put others first and show kindness.

Love and kindness are never wasted; love and kindness always make a difference. Love and kindness actually bless the Person who receives them from us, a family member, a friend, a classmate….but the very action of showing love and kindness to others bless us too.

Saint Paul gave us a list of words that we call the Fruits of the Holy Spirit…I have already mentioned them…..love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, trustfulness and self-control……he tells us that they are the things the Holy Spirit brings into our lives. If the Holy Spirit brought only one of theism into our lives we would be people of great richness and blessings

Maybe a good thing to remind ourselves of and to ask the Holy Spirit to give us every day is that fruit of kindness

As was said of the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama……”your speeches are always kindness, kindness, always kindness, nothing but kindness.”

And as the new President of France, Emmanuel Macron said “Let us be people of kindness.”

I have told you about Michelle Obama, Emmanuel Macron, a Roman poet- Seneca, I want to finish with a prayer Pope Francis said we all should be praying each day.

“Holy Spirit, may my heart be open to the Word of God, may my heart be open to good, and may my heart be open to the beauty of God, every day.”

If we pray that prayer every day the Holy Spirit will help us to be people of kindness.